Powering Down Helped Empower Me Up!
I was determined and, frankly, a little scared. A colleague had challenged me to not only unplug for two full days, but to do NO WORK AT ALL for those days.
I don’t consider myself a work-a-holic, but I do work every day. My logic is that by working ½-days on weekends, I won’t fall any farther behind.
I also tend to think most creatively as I exercise. The meditative rhythm and release of tension during my morning march allows my brain to flow into logistics…and unique twists that create the wow moments at events, presentations, and workshops.
David Wolfskehl, the challenger, suggested that each time I begin to think about work, I should chase the idea away. Uggghhh! The thought of losing a gem of an idea: agony!
At 9:00pm on Wednesday, July 3, I took a deep breath and pulled all plugs. I gotta admit, the next couple of days were emancipating! I read two brain-candy best sellers— you know….the page-turners that only take a fraction of your focus. I ploughed through the chapters as I sat on a bench on Main Street in Cold Spring, admiring dogs, greeting neighbors. I climbed to a viewing spot on Mt Taurus with my man to watch the July 4th fireworks, and managed the decent after dark. I took naps; enjoyed wine at sunset on a blanket next to the river; cooked with love (and no heat, of course).
I felt like the luckiest gal on the planet. I’d unplugged for TWO whole days! It was, after all, a strategic time to unplug. The rest of New York was chillin’ as well for the holiday weekend, or should I say sizzlin’, given our humid 90+ degree weather.
Then, Saturday morning, July 6th, it was back to work. But wait….nothing was flowing. I still felt unplugged, and the truth is, I was. A past self would have sucked it up and pushed through, forcing myself to work. Frustration would surely ensue, due to lack of progress. But this time I trusted my intuition and reasoned I wasn’t on the way to mental obesity. My brain was not done resting. I did something decadent and indulged in two more days of electronic isolation, guilt free.
Finally, on Monday morning, I hopped onto my computer and absolutely cranked. Strange, I usually work partly distracted by the pulse of anxiety simply to check things off of my list. This time, my brain felt free, clear, focused and excited to dig in— clearly a result of my time away.
Now, I’m energized, and have begun to wonder how long this will last. I chuckle; this feeling is within my control. The brain needs down time, if not just to relax, to reconnect with the other side of life. I am perfectly capable of providing this and will continue to take one full day off each week. Attention work-a-holics: If you have any control of your schedule at all, I prescribe the same for you.
My next challenge is to unplug while the rest of the world is working.
Challenge yourself to unplug – and please share your stories with us.